Friday, October 9, 2015

While in Windsor

4 Oct 2015: The Oakland Temple (photo by Dylan)

We were so anxious to get to our next destination that we left Fresno a bit early on Sunday. With all of our visits finished, we decided to forego the noon checkout time. Instead, we were all packed up and on the road at 10:30, ready to face the 4-hour drive northward to Windsor, in the wine country of northern California.

"Welcome" is spelled out with shrubs, but we weren't exactly welcomed.

Our first stop on the way to Windsor was Oracle Arena in Oakland, home of the Golden State Warriors basketball team. This stop was requested by Chris, who's a big fan. He'd hoped to get his picture in front of the arena, but the reality was that we weren't allowed past the front gates. We were met by a guard who let us know in a not-so-friendly tone that they were closed and we needed to go away. So Chris took the best pictures he could through the fence. At least no one shot at us.

Chris and Dylan outside the visitor's center at the Oakland temple.

Just a couple of miles from the arena is the Oakland Temple, which I intended to visit because this particular temple has special meaning to me. On June 1, 1968, when I was 13, this is the temple where I was sealed to my family for eternity. I still remember the events of that day. I think the last time I was at the Oakland Temple was probably in 1969 or 1970. However, my son Jacob attended this temple many times when he served in the Santa Rosa Mission during 2010-2012.

Mark, Chris, and Sarah in front of the Christus in the visitor's center lobby.

I was surprised to find that the Oakland Temple now shares its property with a visitor's center and a stake building. Both were open and filled with people who were watching a satellite transmission from Salt Lake City, Utah, of the semiannual general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A pair of sister missionaries invited us to watch with them, but the beauty of today's technology is that we can watch all the conference sessions any time we want to, on We took a quick look around the visitor's center, but I wanted to spend my time around the temple itself.

Dylan took this gorgeous shot from the roof of the temple.

Another change was a pair of staircases leading to the top of the temple, where there are gorgeous gardens and amazing views of Oakland far below, as well as the temple grounds. 
Downtown Oakland is visible below, and San Francisco beyond the Bay.
Dylan took this close-up of downtown Oakland. It was a slightly hazy day.
Behind Oakland is the Bay, and then San Francisco is upper left.

A peaceful reflective pool just inside the temple gates.
Above it, you can see the rooftop gardens.

Dylan takes our picture in front of the reflecting pool.

Mark, Mary, Sarah, and Chris by the reflecting pool inside the gates.

Dylan enjoyed capturing the movement of the fountain waters.

One of Dylan's fountain shots.

Chris and Sarah on one of the bridges spanning the downhill flowing stream.

Mark and Mary on a bridge in front of the Oakland Temple.

Mary, Dylan, and Chris stop for lunch.

Once we had thoroughly explored the temple grounds, we were ready for some lunch, so we found a shady spot on some steps near the stream and ate up the leftover tuna salad, as well as a bag of my favorite chips, Lay's original potato chips. I don't know about anyone else, but I sure can't eat just one! Then it was time to move on to our final destination.

Starting across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.

In order to reach Windsor, we had to cross the San Francisco Bay north from the Oakland area. This meant crossing the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, which is five-and-a-half-miles in length. I'm pretty sure  I've never driven so far over a deep body of water before! It also required a $5.00 toll, which is charged only when you're traveling north. Thus we won't have to pay when we cross it again on our way home.

 Crossing the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.

 Crossing the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.

Coming to the northern end of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.

We stopped to look back across the water at the long bridge we'd just crossed.

Dylan's shot of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge from the north.

Sarah, Dylan, and Chris at the lookout on the other side of the bridge.

Our unit is located on the 3rd floor in this building at WorldMark Windsor resort.

Finally, just after 4:00 we arrived at our resort in Windsor. It was such a relief to be able to unload the car and unpack our stuff and get all moved in for our weeklong stay.

Mary and Dylan will share the master bedroom.
Mark gets the Murphy bed in the living room.

The master bathroom.

Chris and Sarah get the second bedroom.

The dining area and full kitchen.

The living room.

The view from our balcony.

The Walmart in Windsor.

Once we had everything stowed in its place, we went shopping at the local Walmart and Safeway to stock the fridge and cupboards of our condo for the week. One of the plusses of staying at  WorldMark is being able to cook most of your meals at "home" and thereby save on the costs of eating out.
Another plus is having a washer and dryer in your unit. We spent the rest of the evening doing our laundry from our first three days on the road. I especially love coming home from vacations with a suitcase filled with clean clothes to put away rather than dirty laundry to wash. 

Downtown Windsor.

On Monday we mostly spent the day relaxing around the condo, which worked out well for Dylan, who was stricken by a stomach bug and spent the day in bed. When evening came and the rest of us were ready to go check out Windsor's downtown area, Dylan opted to stay in. Our big day in San Francisco was coming up the following morning, and he hoped to beat this bug before then.

Powell's Sweet Shoppe

I loved the picturesquely historic buildings that surrounded the town green, and we explored a few as we strolled down the quiet street. Our favorite was Powell's Sweet Shoppe, which was wall-to-wall with candies of every kind, even some older ones that can't be found anywhere else anymore.

These are candies, not flowers, outside the shop.

Inside Powell's Sweet Shoppe.

Sarah and Mary (and Chris in the background) in the candy shop.

We found a rainbow Snoopy on the town green.
According to his plaque, he's not celebrating gay rights.
He's all about children eating a colorful variety of healthy foods!

We had dinner here, at KC's American Kitchen.

Mark went for the chicken-fried steak.

Chris enjoyed the Mexican chicken salad.

Sarah had the chicken Parmesan.

I had yummy fish and chips. I didn't even realize the fish was
fish-shaped until I saw this photo!

After dinner, we returned to Powell's Sweet Shoppe for dessert.
Chris got peanut butter gelato, but the rest of us got handmade chocolates.
Chris and Mark fight it out over the ping-pong table.
On Tuesday we spent the day in San Francisco, and on Thursday we spent the day driving up the northern California coast. There will be blog posts on those two days later.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday and Friday we spent our  time around the resort, recovering from our big travel days. Dylan was careful about what he ate while we were in San Francisco, so he did okay. He felt okay on Wednesday, too. At least, he did at first. He even went down to the clubhouse to play some ping-pong and air hockey with his dad and Chris. By evening, though, he had a nasty relapse and went back to bed while everyone else had dinner and then went swimming.
Next up, the ping-pong battle of Chris and Dylan.

Wednesday night's dinner was our traditional travel dinner of
grilled chicken thighs and homemade potato salad.
The weather was so nice that we ate out on the balcony.

Looking toward the resort's pool area from our building.

The pool at night, when my kids prefer to swim.

Things don't always go as planned during these long-awaited trips. I've already had my share of melt-downs when everything seemed to go wrong, as my family can testify. Even so, I wouldn't trade this family time for anything. I love family vacations!

 That's our 3rd floor balcony as we walked back from the pool.


Grandma Honey said...

I've been enjoying every word and picture of your vacation. I don't even like to travel but the way you explain things and the detail you's all very interesting to me. I'm sorry about Dylan. Stomach issues are some of the worst days, especially when away from home.

We have never stayed in a Windsor before but it looks SO impressive.

Mary said...

Thanks, Jill! I love to travel. Usually by the end I'm ready to get back home, but this time I wished for another week. It really was bad timing for Dylan, but thank goodness none of the rest of us came down with his bug. I can't imagine doing all the hiking we did in different places while needing to stay near a bathroom! Windsor is the name of the town where we stayed, just north of Santa Rosa. The resorts we use are WorldMarks, but the individual names vary. This one was called WorldMark Windsor because of its location.